Just like their humans, dogs need regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Running with your dog is not only a fantastic way to get you both moving more, it’s a great chance to spend some quality time with your favourite pooch!
However, it can be hard to leave the house when the weather is far from inviting, but if you own a dog, you know they are your personal motivator! Those puppy dogs eyes force you to get out rain or shine. Luckily natural light has many positive benefits on your mental and physical health. It’s also a great way for your dog to maintain a healthy weight and save you money on those vet bills too!
The best breeds to run with
Some breeds are much better suited to running than others – and some will surprise you, speed doesn’t necessarily correlate to how adept they are at running. Some breeds that are extremely fast, like Sighthounds and Lurchers, are speedy across very short distances, but will tire over longer ones. Other breeds such as Labradors will happily run alongside you and will complement your lifestyle perfectly. The supreme athletes of the dog world like Huskies or Border Collies may be happy to go the distance but may need their attention held during the run!
Small-nosed (or brachycephalic) breeds, such as Pugs can have difficulty breathing and regulating their body temperature efficiently, so are more susceptible to heat stroke
Top tips on how to train your dog to run with you
- Build up endurance steadily. Don’t go too far too soon. Just like humans, some dogs may need their own version of Couch to 5k if they aren’t used to running. Even those that are more athletic need to build up their endurance.
- Bring water for your dog. Their way of cooling down is panting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Make sure you bring fluids for both of you on the run.
- Stay present and pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you.
- Don’t go so quickly that you’re out of breath and can’t give them instructions.
- These runs are unlikely to be your personal bests when it comes to your speed. There will be abrupt stops for sniffing and peeing! Especially when you’re first training them to get into the rhythm of running alongside you (rather than in front, behind wandering between the two). If you’re a runner and training for speed, it may be best to leave the dog at home for those specific runs.
- And very importantly don’t forget bags!
How often you run with your dog comes down to age and breed. Adult dogs generally need between 30 minutes and two hours of daily exercise. This can include walking, running, playing fetch, agility and other enrichment-based games.
An important issue to bare in mind is that sometimes your playful pup won’t know what’s good for them! They can have a natural urge to run and play, that can override pain. Play time and time with you can be too appealing, so it will be up to you to put the brakes on if they get over-excited! Find out more on how to exercise with your dog here.